Published: Wed, December 11, 2019

United States commission seeks sanctions against Indian home minister over controversial citizenship bill

United States commission seeks sanctions against Indian home minister over controversial citizenship bill

The U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has suggested that President Donald Trump should consider sanctions against Indian Home Minister Amit Shah and other members of India's principal leadership if CAB 2019 passes in both houses of the parliament, calling the bill "a risky turn in wrong direction".

This wasn't the case in 2016, when the original Citizenship Bill proposed to consider applications from refugees after a minimum stay of six years in India.

College students in north-eastern states - constituting around eight percent of the total of the states' and four percent of the country's population - wrote anti-Citizenship Bill slogans with their blood at a university in Guwahati and some other universities on Tuesday.

The CAB is a risky turn in the wrong direction; it runs counter to India's rich history of secular pluralism and the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law regardless of faith.

About Muslims, the minister assured the minorities that the "proposed Bill intends on the positive direction to grant citizenship to all minorities subjected to religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan".

The bill requires any outsider, including Indian citizens, to have an official travel document from the Indian Government to enter a protected area for a limited period.

The opposition parties in India have called the Bill unconstitutional, adding that it goes against India's secular identity and propagates the idea of alienation of Muslims, which could also in the future prove to be detrimental to the Muslims living in India as well. "We will have to differentiate between intruders and refugees", he was quoted as saying by Scroll.in.

The other minorities in India, including Muslims will not be entertained from the bill.


"Such an initiative should be welcomed, not criticised by who are genuinely committed to religious freedom", the statement read.

The statement, attributed to Kumar, claimed the "recent record of granting such citizenship would bear out the Government of India's objectivity in that regard".

Shah has stoked further fears among India's Muslims with his aim to conduct a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) that he says will see all "infiltrators" identified and "expelled" by 2024. "Suggestions to that effect are motivated and unjustified". "Every nation, including the United States, has the right to enumerate and validate its citizenry, and to exercise this prerogative through various policies", the Indian statement said.

"It is, however, regrettable that the body has chosen to be guided only by its prejudices and biases on a matter on which it clearly has little knowledge and no locus standi".

Khan in a tweet said: "We strongly condemn Indian Lok Sabha citizenship legislation which violates all norms of worldwide human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan".

The Bill would now be moved in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday to cross its final hurdle before becoming a law to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The latest legislation is another major step towards the realization of the concept of "Hindu Rashtra", idealized and relentlessly pursued by the right-wing Hindu leaders for several decades.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a bilateral meeting at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019.

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